ART THERAPY – PAINTING BY NUMBERS…

Finding something relaxing to do to take your mind off the Covid situation over the last few months has been quite a challenge. But, as many of my readers know I’m a keen and enthusiastic crafter and I found a number of crafts to keep me occupied.

More recently, I had sent off for a Paint By Numbers Kit which was flying over to me all the way from America.

I was looking for some colourful artwork for my bathroom and suddenly thought about giving it a go myself. I had looked at Paint By Number Kits (for adults) online on numerous occasions and decided this could be my next project. To be honest with you I could not understand why it has not been as fashionable as it is now before. Paint By Numbers is a relatively simple concept. You buy the outline of a painting that is sectioned off, each given a corresponding number. You will then use paints with numbers on the top of each pot within the kit. It’s that simple.

It’s an easy and satisfying way to get through the next six months. You don’t need to know anything about art or even have an artistic ability ( I certainly haven’t) you just have to be keen to give it a go. You will then end up with your own personalised wall decoration. A beautiful canvas artwork made by yourself to pop on your wall, gift it to someone or even sell it online.

It would also make the perfect gift and with Christmas coming up in the not to distant future a perfect gift for someone else to enjoy. Paint By Numbers Kits used to be something just for the kids but now there are lots to choose from suitable for adults to paint.

To me it’s like a Complementary Therapy in a kit. A very therapeutic process to help you relax and yet concentrate on your painting and take your mind off your pain.

They provide you with a high quality canvas, paints and brushes so you are good to go straight away. Mine arrived nicely packed and once I’d opened it I was surprised at the size of it but then again I’m still in inches and not centimetres so that did not surprise me. I wasn’t blessed with the gift of art drawing although I can copy the odd flower and I have always loved art.

I decided on a Cacti picture as I knew if I decided to not put it in my bathroom it would look great in any room as I have lots of plants around the house. I also thought that a similar colour theme ( mainly green) might be easier to follow for my first try. It has everything in the pack with all the colours and paint brushes so I was keen to get cracking right from the start.

I initially left it on the kitchen table but then moved it into my craft room to sit and do it at leisure rather than looking at it in the kitchen and thinking I should do more work on it. The last thing you want is to feel under pressure to get your Paint By Numbers Kit finished. If you went to a typical painting lesson you would focus on methods and techniques to achieve a result. The purpose to identify and practice formal painting skills. But in mindfulness the painting skill or techniques are not important. What counts is the process of creating.

It is so relaxing that I would recommend it to anyone feeling low or in pain as it is yet another way to escape the doom and gloom of life at the moment. It will involve a lot of detailed painting but I will really enjoy the challenge. I am what you might call well and truly hooked.

For people working it is a great way to relieve the work pressure and take you to another place into another world. If you haven’t tried this before then this is most definitely the time to give it a go. It’s definitely a new and rewarding hobby for me which has been on my bucket list of things I wanted to try for a long time.

Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci came up with the idea of Paint By Numbers. Paint by numbers kits were invented in 1950 by Dan Robbins.

Robbins invented the kits after he was hired on to work at Palmer Show Card Paint Company, where he first worked as an illustrator for children’s books. But after a period of time, the company’s founder, Max Klein, told Robbins he wanted him to come up with a way to sell more paint. A creative thinker, Robbins came up with the paint by numbers kit, a hobby which would help people to enjoy the art of painting.

Paint By Numbers Kits come in a number of different themes from Children’s Room ideas to an Abstract, the world is really your oyster. It is definitely on my Christmas present list to buy for a few friends. Give it a go, you will not be disappointed.

8 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A COMPLEMENTARY TREAMENT A TRY…

A Complementary Therapy is one that can be used in addition to, or instead of, conventional Western medicine. BUPA explain that Complementary therapies are methods of trying to treat illnesses, and these methods fall outside of conventional medicine. Some complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and reflexology, are based on older or traditional forms of medicine. Others, such as osteopathy and chiropractic, are more recent developments. Things like herbal medicine can be seen as a very rough precursor to modern medicine; there are many medicines that have been discovered through understanding the effects of natural substances. Herbal medicines can be seen as ‘unrefined’ medications, with varying doses and sometimes with other ingredients in them.

The word ‘complementary’ refers to the fact that they may be used in addition to the conventional medicine approaches advised by medical professionals. Here are 7 reasons why you should at least try one of them for chronic pain.

  1. It’s natural – Complimentary Therapies work naturally with the body to help restore balance.
  2. It an improve sleep, most Complimentary Therapies are great for relaxation and then sleep.
  3. You can chat with your therapist about your condition and sometimes just talking to someone can lift your mood.
  4. It’s more personal with some hands-on therapies.
  5. You can learn about many Complimentary Therapies and treat yourself. (I will cover this in another post).
  6. There are so many now available you are bound to find one that could help you but always book through a professional therapist.
  7. They can help you cope with your condition.
  8. Some are now available on the NHS like Acupuncture, Reflexology, Homeopath, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Herbal Medicines, Counsellors, CBT and Tai Chi.

4 BENEFITS OF OWNING A HOT TUB…

When owning your first home, it may be difficult to identify things that you need or would like to have in your first residence. Whether you closed on one of the Cincinnati houses for sale or just bought a home in a rural area, you’re likely going to have to fill it out with various furniture and amenities. An option that is gaining lots of popularity and traction all around the country is hot tubs. Hot tubs are often thought of as a luxury item, something that you should only install if you have some extra money in the bank. That being said, having a hot tub can provide you with many benefits and can be a great addition to your home. So what do you stand to gain from installing a hot tub, and is it worth the large price tag? Here are the benefits of owning a hot tub.

RELAXATION…

It’s no secret that we spend our lives constantly dealing with stress and anxiety. Whether it be from work, school, or personal relationships, stress and anxiety is extremely prevalent in our lives. Unfortunately this is a very bad thing, as constantly being stressed out and anxious about situations can be a major detriment to both your mental and physical health. Thankfully, using a hot tub can relax you and provide you with some amazing stress relief. There’s something extremely soothing about ending your night relaxing in a hot tub. Not only can you let your mind drift off and relax, but you’ll be massaged by the tub’s jets and soothed by the warm water surrounding you. If you have a hot tub, you’ll almost certainly be using it to escape the everyday stresses of life.

PAIN RELIEF…

Another huge benefit of having a hot tub is the pain relief that it can provide you. Many Americans suffer from some form of pain ranging from neck pain to lower back pain. In addition, many Americans may suffer from ailments like arthritis or even major physical injuries like a sprained ankle. While using a hot tub certainly won’t make all of the pain go away, it certainly can go a long way in helping you cope with it. The relaxation that comes with being in a hot tub can put you in a more positive state of mind, something that can help you manage your pain better. In addition, sitting in the hot water and being massaged by the tub’s jets can be a huge help in relieving pain. If you’re someone who struggles with chronic pain and is looking for relief, then a hot tub could be the perfect solution. 

BETTER SLEEP…

As mentioned before, using a hot tub can be a great way to relax and relieve some stress. One way that this can manifest itself is through better sleep. If you use the hot tub at night before you go to bed, you’ll find yourself much more relaxed and carefree. Being relaxed at night, can make falling and staying asleep much easier for you. Many Americans struggle with anxiety or some other sleep problem, leading people to get less than the desired amount of sleep. Doing so can create a vicious cycle, as sleep deprivation can make you feel more stressed and irritated, further adding to your problems. Thankfully, a hot tub can break that cycle, allowing you to relax and get into a calmed mindset before you go to sleep. As a result, you can sleep peacefully and easily, improving your health and your mood for the future. 

MOBILITY…

It’s no secret that in our old age our bodies begin to deteriorate and become limited in their mobility. If you’re old enough to own your own home, then you’ve likely already experienced some of the negative side effects that come with ageing. Getting around the home may be slightly more difficult, and you might find physical tasks that used to be easy much more difficult. Thankfully using a hot tub can actually be a huge help with your mobility and range of motion. Studies have shown that frequently using a hot tub can help relieve joint inflammation and muscle stiffness, something that can be a huge help in improving your mobility. If ageing has made it more difficult to move around, then frequently using a hot tub can be a great way to combat it. 

WHICH INJECTION IS IDEAL FOR BACK PAIN -EPIDURAL, STEROID, FACET JOINT OR TRIGGER POINTS?…

With so many different types of spinal injections available for back pain its difficult to decide which one to try. In a previous post I decided to do a bit of research on epidurals for back pain and other types of injections for back pain.

One I had (which was through the front of my neck ) was highly dangerous and not many pain consultants ( including mine) would perform this procedure. All the way through the procedure the consultant ( another one I had been referred to who specialised in this type of injection )kept saying I must not move one fraction of an inch but instead to shout stop whenever I started to feel it too uncomfortable.

I can honestly say it wasn’t the most pleasant or procedures but I’m always of the opinion of no pain no gain with these type as of procedures. Fortunately I had no after affects and after about three weeks ( I was told it could take that long) the pain relief kicked in and my neck and arm pain disappeared for the first time in years. Now 18 months later some of the pain and pins and needles are coming back but nothing like it was before. 

Spine Health wrote that while the effects of an epidural steroid injection tend to be temporary (lasting from a week to up to a year) an epidural steroid injection can deliver substantial benefits for many patients experiencing low back pain.

  • Recent research reports that lumbar epidural steroid injections are successful in patients with persistent sciatica from lumbar disc herniation, with more than 80% of the injected group with disc herniation experiencing relief (in contrast to 48% of the group that received a saline placebo injection).
  • Similarly, in a study focused on a group of patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and related sciatica symptoms, 75% of patients receiving injections had more than 50% of pain reduction one year following the injections. The majority also increased their walking duration and tolerance for standing.

So, I could see from this information that it seems to be ok for lumber pain but there is no mention of it for cervical pain.

An article in The Daily Mail said that tens of thousands of patients are being given a ‘useless’ back-pain injection, which costs the NHS nearly £40 million every year, an analysis suggests.

Patients that demand a ‘quick fix’ for their discomfort are being given the treatment, priced at £540 per procedure, despite doctors being told to recommend back-pain sufferers be more active or try psychological therapy.

According to an analysis of NHS data by The Times, 70,608 steroid injections into patients’ facet joints, which make spines flexible, occurred last year, compared to 62,570 five years ago.

Guidelines released in both 2009 and 2016 advise against the procedure. 

Figures also show 8,044 operations that fuse spinal bones together were carried out last year, up from 7,224 between 2012 and 2013. 

Spinal Healthcare point out that Epidural steroid injections are actually very safe, since they are simply an injection that contains both local anaesthetic and steroids. In effect these reduce the inflammation that is causing pain in the nerves and the disc in the spin and the local anaesthetic numbs the area, bringing short term numbness to the region. By the time the local anaesthetic wears off the steroid will be working to reduce inflammation.

However there are some risks with the procedure, but these need to be looked at in context. Almost every human activity carries some risk with it. For example, crossing the road, lifting heavy objects, even opening a tin of beans all carry risks. Yet we do them every day, simply because they are necessary to human function.

Reading through lots more posts on epidurals I have come to the conclusion that like anything in life one size does not fit all of us and for some this treatment gives great relief and for others none whatsoever. There is definitely a problem with the cost of this type of injection as you require x ray staff and others to proceed with it. My facet joint injections which were also done in X-ray were cut a couple of years ago due to funding.

After my move down south last June I managed to see a pain team in January of this year but they also said they do not cover facet joint injections which I have found to be the best for me. However, when I talked it through with my GP he said other hospitals offer it and if I got to the stage that I was desperate for them he could organise a referral.

I can quite understand the cuts as the NHS is under so much pressure but I think it would make sense to have a team of people who simply follow up your pain relief after the injection to monitor if it was worth doing or not. That way the ones who benefit could continue having them and and the ones that don’t could try something else.

As far as the safety of this type of injection, I guess any injection into your spine carries risks but that could apply to any type of procedure. However, having it for cervical pain is something I could not find so it makes me think that maybe the one I had was a one off that worked for a while but now it’s back to square one again.

The difference between the nerve block and the epidural is where they put the needle. The nerve block injection usually also contains a steroid to decrease inflammation and pain. The injection is similar to a transforaminal epidural steroid injection, but in a selective nerve root block, there is no attempt to have the medication enter the epidural space.

The differences between epidurals and the nerve blocks and facet joint injections is that facet joint injections are used for both diagnostic and therapeutic reasons in the treatment of degenerative or arthritic conditions. Along with the numbing medication, a facet joint injection also includes injecting time-release steroid (cortisone) into the facet joint to reduce inflammation, which can sometimes provide longer-term pain relief.

A trigger point injection which I have recently been offered is an anesthetic such as lidocaine (Xylocaine) or bupivacaine (Marcaine), a mixture of anesthetics, or a corticosteroid (cortisone medication) alone or mixed with lidocaine and are used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin.

But, all seem to include some kind of steroid medication for the pain, they are all put into different areas and some involve using x-ray guidance but to me, the actual drug they are using is the same, but of course this is just what I have read online and is not something have discussed with my pain consultant.

 
Another treatment at the Regenerative Clinic in Harley Street London is stem cell therapy and PRP can help patients avoid spinal surgery and the side effects of epidural steroid injections. These procedures utilise the patient’s own natural growth factors or stem cells to treat bulging or herniated discs, degenerative conditions in the spine, and other back and neck conditions that cause pain.

According to Back Pain Expert Researchers at Manchester University’s Division of Regenerative Medicine are still currently running clinical trials in people with back pain to test a revolutionary treatment that could repair damaged intervertebral discs. The revolutionary new treatment based on stem cells, pioneered by Dr Stephen Richardson at Manchester University, may turn out to offer a permanent cure for back pain related to damaged intervertebral discs. For over five years, and backed with funding from the Arthritis Research Campaign, he and his colleagues at the Division of Regenerative Medicine have been developing a way of using cells from the body to regenerate the nucleus polposus in the damaged intervertebral discs.

However, I’m not holding my breath that this treatment will be available on the NHS anytime soon. I do feel that if you have only tried one type of injection and it’s not working as well then it is definitely worth trying another as you can see from this article there are a number of different options available. 

 

 

IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT 5 of THE BEST SLEEP SPRAYS…

It’s’ Sleep Sunday and this week I’m giving you my top 5 Sleep Sprays

1. Botanic Pillow Mist Lavender and Sweet Marjoram £6 available from Boots – This relaxing Pillow Mist helps to naturally calm the mind and prepare for a peaceful night’s sleep. Made with a soothing blend of Lavender and Sweet Marjoram oils, this Pillow Mist helps to relax body and mind to encourage inner peace before sleep.

This bottle is made from 100% recycled materials.
We’ve taken steps to reduce our impact on the planet at every stage in this product’s journey. People tested. Formulated without parabens.
No Parabens, Phthalates, Mineral Oils & SLS

2. Dr. Organic Lavender Sleep Therapy £7.99 available from Holland and Barratt.

  • Lavender Sleep Pillow Spray 
  • Relaxing Comforting Promoting deep sleep
  • Pillow Spray, Suitable for vegans

If you are searching for a perfect night time sleep, then look no further than the Dr Organic Lavender Pillow Spray. A truly unique night-time spray helping to diminish sleepless nights while promoting deep sleep and tranquillity. Complete with a proprietary blend of organic and natural ingredients, including bioactive essential oils such as Ylang-Ylang, Vetiver, Patchouli, Bergamot and Arabian Jasmine. Suitable for Vegan.

3. Bramble and Blossom Sleep Well Mist £15 available from Bramble and Blossom.

A calming blend of essential oils and flower water that helps promote a sense of calm and aids a restful nights sleep.

We have expertly blended essential oils renowned for their relaxing and calming properties. Lavender, marjoram and patchouli have been combined with chamomile flower water, so you can enjoy a tranquil sleep and awake refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Spritz around the bedroom and on pillow before bedtime. Relax breathing in the calming mist and enjoy a restful nights sleep.

4. Cowshed Sleepy Calming Pillow Mist £16 available from Cowshed. .

Slip into a restful night’s sleep with our Sleepy range. Our calming pillow mist calls upon a bespoke blend of Melissa and Lemon Myrtle essential oils, relaxing the body and mind with a citrusy fragrance. The layering of St John’s Wort and Lady’s Mantle with these oils creates an effective stress-reliever, which assists a good night’s sleep.Product quantity

5. Goodnight Pillow Mist £15 available from Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Wake up refreshed with our award-winning bedtime mist, proven to improve your sleep from the first night*. The tranquil blend of organic lavender, vetiver and mandarin essential oils promote a sense of calm for a peaceful night.

  • Restful and relaxing
  • Improve your sleep from the very first night*
  • 81% found Goodnight Pillow Mist helped calm and relax*
  • 74% found Goodnight Pillow Mist aids a peaceful night’s sleep*
  • 71% would recommend Goodnight Pillow Mist to someone with sleep issues*
  • 69% fell asleep quicker*